SIM:LtCmdr Skyfire LtCmdr Taybrim: Old Friends
|Crew of the USS Astraeus|
|Civilian Chythar Skyfire|
Author's Note: In Sal's timeline, this is just before the mission start. In Chythar's timeline, this is before the USS Columbia docks at Starbase 118 on 239207.19.
(( Starbase 118 Promenade ))
:: It had been nearly three years since Chythar had roamed these halls. In fact, he hadn’t seen much of the base since it was attacked by metal-munching dragons, and pulling the then-Commander Livingston from an explosion’s aftermath and into sickbay. He didn’t recall the names of any stores or restaurants from his first tour of duty here as a medical officer, but then again he wasn’t here for a trip down memory lane. He was here to say hello to an old friend, and tapped his badge. ::
Skyfire: =/\= Commander Skyfire to Commander Taybrim.
:: Sal had been lounging in his office, slowly getting through the pile of paperwork on his desk in that way one processes things in the middle of shore leave. That ‘I’m here-but-not-really-here’ sort of mentality. He jumped when the call came through the commline. He hadn’t been expecting a call, at least not at this point, but curiously opened up the line to hear a very familiar voice. ::
Taybrim: =/\=...CD?=/\= ::he sat up in his chair and punched in the information from the signal. This wasn’t subspace, this was localized.:: =/\= You’re here, on StarBase 118? =/\=
:: He could almost hear the surprise in his brother’s voice, as he was at least a month early. The last letter showed he was on the Invicta. A lot can change in a month. ::
Skyfire: =/\= In the flesh. Was going to grab a bite and thought you should join me, if your duties permitted.
Taybrim: =/\= Why… yes! =/\= :: Technically he was on leave at least for another day or so. Working vacation is what Leo called it, but he was going to shortly exercise the vacation part of it:: =/\=I can wrap up what I’m doing and meet you.=/\= :: pause :: =/\= Any ideas where you want to head to? =/\=
Skyfire: =/\= Not a one. Meet you on the promenade?
Taybrim: :: he chuckled :: =/\=Sure! =/\= :: a contemplative pause :: =/\= I suppose I probably know the shops better than you do, now. What are you in the mood for? =/\=
Skyfire: =/\= Anything that looks vaguely pizza-like would be welcome. And brewski.
Taybrim: =/\=... Brewski? =/\= :: Confusion filtered heavily through his voice :: =/\= Uhm… not sure if I know a store that sells that. But pizza I can handle. =/\= :: he rose, putting the paperwork aside and brushing off his uniform ::
Skyfire: =/\= Beer. :: Pause. :: Remind me when you get here to explain Terran slang in greater depth.
Taybrim: =/\= :: He paused just before exiting his office, boggling at the thought :: =/\= There’s more Terran slang?=/\= ::cough:: =/\=I have enough trouble just keeping up with Leo’s expressions! =/\=
Skyfire: =/\= Righto. Meet you where, again?
Taybrim: =/\= Right, right. I’ll meet you in the Promenade outside Buzz Johnson’s Ultimate Pie Shop. =/\=
:: CD smirked as the line closed. Whether or not the commander’s duties permitted, he’d make the time just as they had done on the Excalibur during the early phases of Chythar’s incident with the mind meld. It wasn’t going to be as awesome as Stew Surprise, as he still had to make his appointment with the CMO and the security chief of the Columbia, but it’d be a chance for them to catch up. ::
((Promenade - Buzz Johnson’s Ultimate Pie Shop - StarBase 118))
:: Buzz Johnson’s promised the most authentic Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza in a ten-light-year-radius. Sal Taybrim actually had zero experience with actual pizza in Chicago, Terra, however most of his staff had recommended the place and Sal himself was quite enthralled with the sauce-saturated pies that were so coated in cheese that you had to pull long strings of it off the dough and shove it into your mouth. It was one of those experiences that made him feel like a kid again.
That and it boasted one hundred and twenty seven various microbrews on state of the art nitrogen-vaprozine line ensured to enhance your beer drinking experience to the utmost.
The decor was smoky and vaguely seedy in a cartoonish manner, and their waitress was a blonde Risian with blonde curls all piled atop her head. She waited as the two men greeted one another before showing them to a table. ::
Taybrim: :: Grinning as he saw a familiar face in a familiar teal collar :: CD! Well, well, live and in the flesh. What brings you to my humble abode on StarBase 118? :: Moving forward to wrap his friend in a bear hug ::
Skyfire: :: The doc returned the grin and the embrace, then ruffled Sal’s hair like a sibling would. :: Sal, Sal… :: and produced a PADD. :: A present for you so you call off the hunt. Stew Surprise. Just don’t let Vitor anywhere near it. :: He paused thoughtfully before he answered the second question. :: And a transfer to the Columbia.
Taybrim: Excellent, excellent… :: And that last part processed through his brain :: What?! You’re headed to Columbia? I thought they had you roped down in the Garuda’s sickbay… or was that in Invicta? :: he couldn’t keep up with all the ships in the Menthar region ::
Skyfire: :: nodded solemnly as he followed the waitress to the table. :: Garuda, then Invicta. Shortly after boarding the Invicta, I got a half-pip because Kells had to promote me before he was ordered to by Fleet Captain Egan Manno. As for why I was transferred: I suspect someone has a twisted sense of humor.
:: The last time they saw one another in reality and not over subspace, CD was being transferred to the Garuda as their medical officer from the Excalibur. And now he was making a pass through the starbase on his way to yet another posting, on a different ship. He couldn’t explain the why part very well, other than someone with pips in the box had a desire to transfer him. He just didn’t know who it was. ::
Taybrim: Wow. :: He nodded, processing it all :: The Columbia’s still a fine ship - I still miss it, even though Ops is home now. I’m sure you’ll feel at home there soon.
:: Chythar nodded. He wished he could say the same about the Invicta, and after serving a year with the same crew he went through one counselor whom he actually liked, and started to feel for in a deeper way than just as a sister. A momentary frown passed over his features as he picked up the menu and had a look-see. ::
Skyfire: I’ll miss them on the Invicta. Home will be wherever the med tape is.
:: The joke seemed to be appropriate on his new audience -- he doubted Sal had heard that one before. ::
Skyfire: I think what I’ll miss most about them is I actually stuck with one counselor through both ships. You know my luck with counselors.
Taybrim: I do. :: he nodded his head, somewhat mournfully. Sal had left the Excalibur’s counseling department to take a stint on the Darwin. What a long strange trip that had been. :: I’m glad you found a few that stuck with you. :: a smile, before he directed the subject to an even brighter topic :: Ok, so one hundred and twenty seven microbrews… what’s your pleasure?
Skyfire: :: He read over the menu briefly before his eyes settled on the Mack & Jack’s African Amber, his favorite of all of the microbrews from home. :: Mack & Jack’s.
Taybrim: Mack and Jack’s it is! :: He ordered two and returned to find Skyfire perusing the menu :: So what bring you to my arm of the galaxy? :: he asked conversationally. ::
:: Chythar was staring at the menu and seemed to get so deeply lost in thought he didn’t hear the question. It took him a few moments to come back to reality as he set the menu aside. ::
Taybrim: :: A lighthearted chuckle :: I asked what bring you to my arm of the galaxy? Seems you’ve had quite the changes since I saw you last.
:: That...would take a bit of explaining. He didn’t have the answer on him, and his clearances had probably been revoked for the Invicta. ::
Skyfire: Um...I’ll have to forward the relevant info on that once I get my clearances reset. I’ve had a few interesting… :: he snapped his fingers a few times as he fumbled for a word. :: ...moments since our last conversation. Both with regards to my abilities and time itself.
Taybrim: :: He offered a slow nod :: You said you had some counseling? :: he prompted gently. ::
Skyfire: “Some” is probably a gross understatement, bro. More like lots. Mostly about… :: He hesitated for a moment. :: ...things. Mostly related to my abilities.
:: He paused thoughtfully, as though trying to add more, but could not. ::
Skyfire: ~My ratings have changed.~
Taybrim: :: A brow perked in surprise :: ~I can hear you clearly. I assume something beyond normal acclimatization went on?~
:: It wasn’t the first time he accidentally lapsed into telepathic contact with his brother of choice, his own brow furrowing and he swallowed hard. ::
Skyfire: ~Last time we spoke about this, I was T2/E2. I’m now T4/E6. And mentally connected with Counselor Moonsong of the Invicta… Similarly to how I’m connected to you... ~
:: CD didn’t form additional thoughts, as though even his mind was fumbling for words on how to put it into something coherent. He expected there would be further questions. Though he couldn’t figure out what else he could add without showing Sal the test results and research that Saveron had done. ::
Taybrim: :: he canted his head to one side. Partially because he rarely thought about telepathy in terms of ‘ratings’ and simply as something that ‘was’ or ‘was not.’ Then again Sal was born in a culture of telepaths, Skyfire was not. :: ~Did anything prompt that happening?~
Skyfire: ~I don’t know. First was the incident on DSX. Then there was a more recent incident on Astrofori One with Ris lashing out mentally as she looked for our companions. ~
Taybrim: :: He furrowed his brow and actually spoke out loud in his surprise :: I was unaware that counselor Moonsong was telepathic…
:: He chewed his bottom lip a bit, considering it all. Sal rarely used his telepathy anymore, unless he was in contact with other telepaths. After he had seared his body with enough electricity to cook an unlucky person, telepathy was a dangerous liability rather than a strength. He had opted, early on in his recovery to focus on what he felt would serve him best and chose the constant, comforting feedback of empathy over telepathy. Meanwhile it seemed the Invicta was producing telepaths left, right and center. There was a small part of him that struggled with a fierce pang of jealousy - or if not jealousy at the very least anger at the inequity of the matter.
He swallowed that with a well-timed gulp of beer. It was good beer. ::
:: How the hell did one sum up the events of what happened over a single glass of beer with no pizza to eat? He didn’t know, and without his documented progression on what happened, he couldn’t answer that in any reasonable fashion. At least, he didn’t think so. Instead, he had a sip of his drink and attempted to encapsulate the essence into a few words. ::
Skyfire: Counselor Moonsong played host to some ambassadors of the Community. After they returned to their collective, she was left… :: He bit his lip and hesitated for a word. :: ...altered. Is now I think the most powerful telepath on the Invicta.
:: Sal couldn’t help but perk a brow at this. In his travels from ship to ship he had heard many similar stories. The crew of Starbase 118 had at one point been possessed by elemental forces far before Handley-Page took command. Officers had fought insane holograms in a fantasy land. Officers had been kidnapped and experimented upon by alien intelligences, or possessed, or traveled through time.
Meanwhile Sal had slogged through political manipulations versus Romulans, dragged idiot engineers away from burning buildings, dealt with more Romulan politics and machinations. And more Romulans. And saving an idiot tactical officer from a court martial. And even more Romulans. He was starting to feel like the Romulans were the stable (if irritatingly manipulative and violent) element in the galaxy.
And for the record he was quite fond of both idiots. But there were a growing number of officers who solidly ‘owed him one’ in the fleet. ::
Taybrim: I see. :: he didn’t, but he said it anyways :: Sounds like it has been a long strange trip. :: leaning forward :: But that still doesn’t answer why you jumped the strange trip and are in my neck of the woods. :: he grinned ::
:: And was that pizza they smelled? Not a moment too soon! One massive pie dripping with cheese and toppings was delivered to the table ::
:: He could’ve sworn he answered that as he got himself a slice of pizza and mused over the riddle. What was he doing here? Was he requested? Was he just here to deliver the recipe? Nah, if he was just here to deliver the recipe then his orders would’ve said “Starbase 118,” not “USS Columbia.” He bit into his slice of pizza and chewed quietly for several moments. Once he’d swallowed the mouthful, gave an answer. ::
Skyfire: I honestly have no idea. Like I said, someone in the Brass has a sense of humor, and they think transferring me is funny.
Taybrim: ~I could probably look that up for you… if you really wanted to know.~ :: A shrug, he swallowed his mouthful of pizza and actually spoke the next thought :: Maybe MacLaren wanted to see you again?
Skyfire: :: nodded slowly and had another sip of beer. :: I knew she’d been reinstated after being comatose from the suicide bomb thing on Argurtha, but I don’t know if she requested me specifically.
Taybrim: You were close. :: he waved a hand in the air :: I know she was released from here some months ago and placed on the Columbia with probably who she considered ‘the good old gang’ :: Well, truth be told they were a good old gang. They used to be Sal’s gang as much as MacLaren’s, even if he had never actually served with her. Like a few others, Sal seemed to be the sort that always ‘just missed’ serving with some crew. ::
:: Interesting, but not altogether unexpected. And for now, it seemed like a good point in time to just muse quietly over his pizza until he had something else he wanted to ask. A few bites later produced another question. ::
Skyfire: ~So, about my connection with Raissa. There’s something else I feel I should tell you.~
Taybrim: :: he took another slug of beer to prepare himself :: ~What’s up?~
Skyfire: :: had another sip of beer before he continued. This was hard for him, mostly because he didn’t know how to explain it. :: ~Because of my connection to her, I can physically touch her and not be at risk of having my mind nuked.~
Taybrim: ~I was unaware of the touch-prompting-mindsplosion part...~ :: he admitted with a furrowed brow. :: ~It sounds like you two were close.~
Skyfire: :: broke eye contact and stared at his pizza. :: ~I comforted her after her breakup with Carter. Gave her a hug. I’m apparently the only one capable of doing that without fear of injury.~ :: He paused and tried to finish the rest as he had another bite. :: ~She’s more than a sister to me, Sal.~
Taybrim: :: He canted his head a bit, indulging in another bite of pizza to give him enough time to digest his thoughts. :: ~Did you want to stay with
:: He managed a weak nod and continued to eat his pizza, gradually starting to lose his appetite as the pain of recent memories started to fill his mind. Despite his shields, a bit of sadness slipped through their connection. ::
Skyfire: ~I did…~ :: He had another swig of beer and just stared at the plate, blinking back the tears of loss. ::
Taybrim: You could have petitioned Starfleet for different placement - closer or in a different department. :: he offered quietly :: I can help you get that paperwork through. :: A small smile :: tricks I learned as a diplomat.
:: He should have at least felt something with those words. There didn’t seem to be any point in arguing with the Brass’ decision to place him aboard the Columbia. He closed his eyes and forced himself to finish the slice of pizza he had in front of him, not sure what to say in response. He felt nothing. ::
:: Sal sighed and the counselor part of his brain turned on, trying a different tact. If rationality wasn’t working, try sympathy, Sal. ::
Taybrim: Transfers suck. They always suck and I’m sorry you’re moving again. But I hope the Columbia is a good of a move for you as it was for me.
:: A wave of bitterness washed over Chythar as another thought entered his mind unbidden. He knew transfers sucked, as his previous scorecard on the Excalibur had shown. Oddly enough, for the Garuda and Invicta tour, he had one counselor for both ships. ::
Skyfire: ~Another ship, another counselor to break….Ris didn’t break….~
Taybrim: ~Columbia’s a good strong ship, with good strong people - many who are your friends and who will be thrilled to see you again.~
:: That reassurance seemed to ease the bitterness that had overtaken the doc’s mind, though it was still somehow lacking in some aspect. He reached for another slice of pizza, despite his diminished appetite, and was going to eat it in order to survive the next forty eight hours of transferring ships. Again. ::
Skyfire: ~Some of the people on that ship I think I helped train, too…~ :: Out of context, that probably could have been a non-sequitur. Though it seemed apt to mention at this point since they were talking about the crew. ::
Taybrim: ~Then they will be especially glad to see you.~ :: Sal was the sort of person who believed that everything, in general, worked out alright in the end. Actually, his last two transfers had not sucked at all. They had been quite good - he had met good people, his career was upwardly mobile and he quite liked his position on StarBase 118 and the crew around him. He just kept that to himself, instead allowing the peaceful aura of ‘things become ok’ radiate from his mind. ::
:: Chythar nodded faintly and helped himself to another bite, this time taking a long swig of the brewski and draining its contents. Alcohol probably wouldn’t help his mood, but at least it made him feel a bit better. ::
Skyfire: ~Right. I’ll try to keep that in mind.~
Taybrim: :: He grabbed another slice of pizza and ordered two more beers :: So how is Devlin doing?
:: The little canine wasn’t with him at the moment, as he was being watched by a friend. He blinked a few times and tried to form words as he took another bite of pizza. ::
Skyfire: Sad we had to leave. He was taking quite a liking to Lt. DeVeau. I have a friend watching him at the moment.
Taybrim: He must be getting pretty big.
Skyfire: Last I checked, he was 15 pounds of adorable beagle.
Taybrim: All the better to charm people with, my dear. :: A chuckle ::
:: The doc let an eyebrow raise in mild amusement, which was an improvement over his earlier mood. He took another swig of beer as it arrived on the table. ::
Taybrim: :: blink blink :: Meaning people, in general, like dogs - especially when they are cute and cuddly?
:: CD mulled that one over as he helped himself to another bite of pizza, despite not really being hungry now. He hated transfers. And was running out of things to say about the adorable puppy. ::
Skyfire: He talks to me, sort of. Has trouble with “a”s unless they’re in the middle of a word.
Taybrim: Talks? :: browperk, curious ::
Skyfire oO Damn. Forgot to tell him this. Oo
:: He had another sip of his drink before he continued. ::
Skyfire: Shortly after my incident on DSX, I was still a T2/E2 but for some reason could communicate telepathically with Devlin. I have no idea why that is.
Taybrim: Strange. :: he murmured. On his homeworld he had only communicated with other people, never the animals. :: How does a dog … talk?
:: Good question. He never had to describe it to anyone else so he wasn’t sure for a moment and mulled through the answer over a bite of pizza. ::
Skyfire: Simple words. He understands the basics: food, play, walkies, Master. :: He gave a thoughtful pause. :: And Lora. That’s the nickname he assigned to Lt. Alora DeVeau, apparently.
Taybrim: Fascinating. :: he leaned back, thinking about the whole affair :: It’s been a long time since I’ve heard of such a fascinating interplay of telepathic development.
:: That caused the doc’s Irish brogue to appear into his speech pattern, though he didn’t lapse into Gaelic. Apparently some mention of interplayed telepathic development rubbed him a little. ::
Skyfire: Don’t get me started, laddie.
Taybrim: Ok :: chuckle :: then you pick the topic of conversation!
:: Skyfire chuckled in response and finished his second slice before he replied. ::
Skyfire: How are things on the starbase?
Taybrim: We’re in what you could call the ‘calm between storms’ :: he leaned back a bit :: After weathering riots, a crash and some terrorist threats we could use the calm, too.
Skyfire: That...doesn’t sound like fun, for some reason.
:: It wasn’t fun-sounding in any event. Fun was walking along the holodeck beach with Devlin and a game of frisbee during shore leave, but that was his opinion. He seriously wanted Devlin and Sal to meet sometime, but it wouldn’t happen any time in the near future. Transfers being fluid and all, he barely had enough time to get Devlin squared away for this impromptu meeting. ::
Taybrim: Well, anything that puts people in danger isn’t fun. :: he admitted :: I don’t like seeing the people around me and the people I’m responsible for get hurt. But in the downtimes there’s been fun. Camaraderie. I like this crew, they’re good people.
:: CD could relate. He nodded grimly, and remembered the painful moments in which he was either extracting shrapnel, Trill symbiont, or burnt flesh from various Starfleet uniforms. Those thoughts were quickly suppressed as he took another swig of beer. ::
Skyfire: No fun seeing people go to Sickbay either.
Taybrim: I suppose not. :: he nodded. Never having been a doctor, he was usually the one at the other end, sending people to sickbay :: Which is why I’m glad it’s a calm time. All the better for rest, recuperation and pizza.
:: Chythar chuckled softly. If there was one thing Sal was good at, it was lightening the mood with a little light-hearted mention of their present meeting. Whether it was pizza, or Stew Surprise, sans faeries, of course. ::
Skyfire: Speaking of rest and fun...I just completed my first training class since getting promoted. :: Thoughtful pause. :: As the CO. You can keep your red-shirt. I’ll be in the teal, patching you up if you happen to get blown up in the line of duty. :: he replied with a wink. ::
Taybrim: :: He chuckled :: Hey, I like the red shirt. :: A bit smugly :: I think it looks good on me. :: beat :: just like you look good in teal.
:: Chythar nodded and leaned back in his chair, allowing himself to relax a little. He didn’t realize how much tension he’d built up in the last few minutes, and the emotional toll started to cause him to zone out a bit. For a few long moments, he said nothing until Taybrim spoke again. ::
Taybrim: Well, seeing as we only have a limited time to spend together I think we should live it up tonight. What’s the most fun thing you can think of - and we’ll do it. Revel in the moment :: he grinned widely, feeling the effects of the tasty beer hit him. ::
:: “Live it up” was a phrase that he hadn’t heard in a long time. He tried hard to think of some of his favorite holonovels or movies to watch, and was coming up with a blank. His transfer had apparently scrambled his sense of fun, and most of his movie titles were stored in a computer somewhere. ::
Skyfire: You always said you wanted to take me to Risa. Any favorite Risian holoprograms you have?
Taybrim: :: A wide grin :: Of course I have a favorite. Do you prefer lounging around in hot springs or windsurfing?
Skyfire: Never tried windsurfing. Willing to give it a shot. :: He smiled at his brother. :: Teach me, oh wise sensei. :: and purely by accident let a Japanese word escape his lips. :: oO Damn. Oo
Taybrim: Well, finish your pizza, we’ll lounge and let the food digest while I go through the basics and then enjoy the surf of Risa! :: he grinned, quite liking this idea. A good way to relax for a night ::
:: Skyfire finished up the second glass, contemplating taking the rest of the pizza home for dinner since he kind of lost his appetite. ::
Taybrim: :: Leftovers packaged up, Sal stretched and smiled :: Nothing like Risa at sundown.
Skyfire: Windsurfing at sunset. Sounds great! :: he finished the slice of pizza in front of him and nodded his readiness to head off. ::
Lieutenant Commander Chythar Skyfire
USS Columbia, NCC-85279
History Team Co-Facilitator
Medical Duty Post Facilitator
Dear Doc Columnist
Lt Commander Sal Taybrim
StarBase 118 Ops
|Lieutenant Commander Chythar Skyfire
USS Columbia NCC-85279
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